As hard as it can be to divorce our favorite characters from the personalities behind them, Sonia Manzano should command a specific amount of your attention. 

The woman best known as Maria, the “Sesame Street” character who spent over four decades teaching life lesson to Big Bird and company, left the program a few weeks ago. The Puerto Rican-descended Bronx native is also an author whose new memoir, “Becoming Maria: Love and Chaos in the South Bronx,” traverses her layered personal and professional history, marked by tragedy and humor in equal measure. 

Check out the video above featuring Manzano talking with “Salsa Nocturna” author Daniel José Older about her book, her work as Maria, and the art of crafting a memoir.

(H/t Flavorpill